It’s a great, quirky tradition played out on a December night each year. Sometimes the weather is bitter, like it was a couple of years ago when the temperature hovered in the 30’s and a persistent drizzle soaked everyone to the bone. This year the weather cooperated perfectly with temperatures in the upper 40’s and clear skies.
It’s hard to estimate how many people participate. Clearly the crowd grew into the hundreds. No one is still for very long as they roll about the north end of the square posing for and taking pictures, greeting friends and preparing for the ride. Riders young and old, fit and not-so-much, male and female, parents and children mingle like the big, happy biker family that they are.
It’s a great holiday tradition, though I’m not sure how far back it goes. I covered it in 2010 (photographs here) and 2011 (photographs here), but I’m sure it’s much older than that. In a way it anticipated the whole “outdoor Knoxville” idea. It’s outside and it’s a very urban idea: I don’t see it happening in a rural or suburban area.
The group rode just under six miles, leaving downtown and winding through Old North Knoxville before returning to the Square for hot chocolate and cookies. I did notice a few having a bit of liquid fortification at Preservation Pub before the race and had visions of my head smashed into the pavement if I attempted such a thing.
So, if you ride and think you might enjoy tricking out your bike next year or if you just want to witness a pretty, festive and fun urban event, remember to put it on your calendar for next year. If you like this event, be sure to thank the annual sponsors: City of Knoxville and the Knoxville Regional Bicycle Program.
It’s worth saying, that the party bike pictured above is awaiting city approval to operate downtown. It’s a great idea and it works in other cities without a problem, so, here’s hoping they get approval and get started.